We could see as many as eight squads from the Big 12 qualify for the dance in 2019, and in fact, that’s exactly what college basketball analyst Joe Lunardi is predicting takes place.
Of course, how things shake out at the Big 12 men’s basketball tournament from March 13 th-1 6th will factor heavily into that equation.
Beginning on Wednesday, March 13 th, in Kansas City, the 10 squads in the Big 12 will begin their quest to be called 2019 meeting tournament champs.
Once the odds to win the Big 12 tournament are out, I’ll update this page with my picking for who I suppose is likely to be cutting down the nets at the Sprint Center.
But for now, let’s take a peek at the teams that are looking to improve their seeding for the NCAA tournament.
I’ll also discuss the squads that are sitting squarely on the bubble, as well as shed light on the two teams who must win the Big 12 tournament if they want to hear their name called on Selection Sunday.
“Locks” Appearing to Improve Their Seeding
Regardless of what happens in the Big 12 meeting tournament, at least five schools from the Big 12 are getting in. You can bet your bottom dollar on that.
Texas Tech Red Raiders
Texas Tech can lock up a# 2 seed when the NCAA bracket is released on March 17 th if they win the Big 12 tournament. The Red Raiders have won eight straight games heading into the regular-season finale at the Hilton Coliseum, which includes a 29 -point throttling of the Jayhawks on February 23 rd.
Sophomore guard Jarrett Culver is an absolute stud, and that’s obvious by looking at any 2019 NBA taunt draft. Culver will be a surefire top-ten pick this summer, and I’d confidently say he’s the most impressive player in the entire Big 12 conference.
Kansas State Wildcats
The Wildcats are for real in 2019. Kansas State finished the regular season with a 7-2 record on the road during seminar play and have four players averaging in double figures. Barry Brown Jr. leads the route at a shade over 15 PPG, but senior Dean Wade is perhaps the glue that holds everything together.
Kansas State should find themselves on the “4-line” when the NCAA tournament arrives, but an impressive showing in Kansas City could certainly vault them into the discussion for a# 3 seed.
Kansas is going to be in the NCAA tournament, but their streak of winning 14 consecutive Big 12 regular-season titles is coming to an end. Bill Self has plenty of playmakers in Lawrence, but the discipline and accountability have been lacking.
The Jayhawks rank 8th( out of 10 squads) in the conference of the parties in turnovers per game and have struggled mightily on the road. I’m sure their pedigree will somehow still warrant a# 3 seed, but it’s clear to me they are no longer the cream of the crop in the Big 12.
At least not in 2019.
Iowa State Cyclones
Unlike the Jayhawks, the Cyclones take pride in taking care of the basketball. Iowa State commits the fewest turnovers of any squad in the Big 12, along with shooting the highest field goal percentage( 48.0% ).
Senior Marial Shayok can do it all, and Lindell Wigginton has come on strong since injuring his ankle early in the year. For the most part, Steve Prohm utilizes merely a seven-man rotation, meaning depth isn’t their strong suit. Operating out of gas could become an issue not only in the Big 12 tournament but in the Big Dance as well.
The Baylor Bears still have some time to impress the committee on conferences. They finish the regular season on Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse before heading toward KC as either the# 4 or# 5 seed for the conference of the parties tournament.
Baylor might not have a household name on their roster, but they have 10 guys who play at least 10 minutes per game. Makai Mason and Tristan Clark set the pace, but look for guards like Mario Kegler and Jared Butler to have integral roles as well.
If you are looking for an early sleeper which is likely to emerge as Big 12 conference champs, Baylor isn’t a bad place to start.
This is where things get interesting. And it’s why what unfolds at the Big 12 seminar tournament at the Sprint Center has such a large impact on the 2019 NCAA tournament field.
There is a reasonable opportunity that all three of the teams in this segment get in, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see one or two of them left behind.
Texas celebrated on Thanksgiving night after beating the Tarheels, but they haven’t done a whole lot since. The fact that the Longhorns merely have 16 wins and are sub. 500 in conference play( as they enter the finale versus TCU on Saturday) means they haven’t done enough to ensure they get a bid into March Madness.
A win in Kansas City will probably be enough to push them over the edge, while two victories in the conference of the parties tournament would seal the deal.
Oklahoma needs to win, and they need to win now. Non-conference victories against Florida and Notre Dame entailed a lot more in December compared to what they mean in March. Florida has been up and down, and Notre Dame is the laughing stock of the ACC.
I believe “losing ones” first game in the Big 12 tournament could spell the end for their tournament opportunities, but it’s hard to get inside the head of the Selection Committee. The Sooners did run 2-0 versus TCU in the regular season, so at least they have that going for them.
When push comes to shove, Lon Kruger may creak his style in after all.
TCU Horned Frogs
Senior Night was spoiled in Fort Worth when the Horned Frogs get smacked on their home floor by the Wildcats, and now TCU procures themselves in a major bind.
This team get spanked by Texas Tech twice, got blown out once by Baylor, and even lost games at Oklahoma State and West Virginia. If TCU can pick up a road win at Texas to close out Big 12 play, then they will at the least have some positive momentum heading to Kansas City.
I’m afraid Jamie Dixon needs to win two games in the conference tournament if he and his players plan on having a joyous afternoon on March 17 th.
Teams Who Must Win to Advance
As strong as the Big 12 is at the top and middle of the conference of the parties, the “bottom feeders” aren’t precisely frightening anyone in 2019. There are two teams in the Big 12 that unequivocally need to win the Big 12 conference tournament in order to keep their hopes of reaching the Final Four alive.
West Virginia Mountaineers
Bob Huggins and the Mountaineers have reached the Sweet 16 three of the last four years, including most recently during the 2018 NCAA tournament. To say 2019 has been a down year in Morgantown would be a massive understatement, as West Virginia was sitting 3-13 in conference play with only two regular-season games left.
Perhaps we’ll see them in the NIT tournament this year.
The Mountaineers are locked into either the 9th or 10 th seed when the Big 12 tournament begins, entailing they’ll be pitted up against TCU or Oklahoma in a play-in game. Running the table in Kansas City is the only style WV can salvage a shot at getting into the NCAA tournament.
Oklahoma State Cowboys
Cowboys head coach Mike Boynton won 21 games in Stillwater during his first year at the helm in 2018. So what the heck happened, and why is Oklahoma State sitting dead last in the Big 12 stands?
This team absences assertiveness all around.
They attempt the fewest number of free throw of any squad in the conference, and they were shoot 42.1% from the field to begin with. I don’t see this squad winning any games in the conference tournament, which could mean they miss out on postseason play altogether.
Chalk 2019 up as a lost season in “Stilly.”
Who Will Win the Big 12 Conference Tournament?
As of this moment, Texas Tech looks like the most complete team to me. I think Kansas State has what it takes to be the last squad standing as well, so my best betting advice could come down to the pricing.
Updates Coming Monday, March 11 th
Texas TechTBC Kansas StateTBC KansasTBC Iowa StateTBC BaylorTBC TexasTBC OklahomaTBC TCUTBC West VirginiaTBC Oklahoma StateTBC Going Away
The Big 12 could end up seeing as many as eight teams qualify for the dance, but I’m supposing seven will be the magic number. That would match the increasing numbers of Big 12 squads who competed in the 2018 NCAA tournament, and I should note that three Big 12 squads made it all the way to the Elite 8.
I’m not too keen on Kansas making any deep runs, and I’d peg Kansas State as a squad who should still be playing on the second weekend.
But to me, Texas Tech is the team that is poised to make some real noise. Chris Beard and the Red Looter are developed for the long haul, and I think they have some unfinished business from a year ago.
I like the +3500 number currently being offered at Bovada.lv for Texas Tech to win it all, and I think it could be worth a stab.
But before I jump the gun and make any bold bellows, let’s ensure what happens at the Big 12 men’s basketball tournament.
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